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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 12, Issue 6, Pages 329-331


Mel Krajden

British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Worldwide, approximately 170 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and another 350 million individuals are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) (1,2). Canada is estimated to have 240,000 to 300,000 HCV and 200,000 to 280,000 HBV chronic carriers (3,4). Without intervention, over multiple decades, approximately 15% to 30% of chronic HBV- and HCV-infected individuals will develop cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease or liver cancer, or will require liver transplantation (1,2,5). From a public health perspective, the major challenge is how best to avoid acute (incident) infections in at-risk populations, and for those already chronically infected, how to prevent consequent morbidity and mortality.